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Al Saeedi unfazed by accusations

Salafi MP who faces prosecution over anti-Shiite remarks says nation will vindicate him

Image Credit:Supplied picture
Jasem Al Saeedi leads Al Wefaq head Ali Salman and other MPs in prayers in March 2007.
Gulf News

Manama: Salafi MP Jasem Al Saeedi, whose immunity from prosecution was recommended to be lifted by a parliamentary committee over alleged sectarian remarks, said yesterday that he was not worried as the nation and the parliament would vindicate him.

The eight-member legislative and legal affairs committee, dominated by Al Wefaq, the largest parliamentary bloc, on Sunday voted to allow the prosecution of Al Saeedi after the public prosecutor informed the parliament that the MP was being sued by Bahraini citizens over his Friday sermons.

According to the prosecution, Al Saeedi insulted Shiites and derided the sect, comparing Shiites with "Sons of Zion", who are bent on destruction and likening them to animals.

However, Al Saeedi, who has had several standoffs with Al Wefaq and its spiritual leader Eisa Qassim, denied the charges, saying he had the deepest respect for Shiites.

"I do not degrade the Shiite sect and in fact, I do respect it deeply. I simply have differences of opinion and views with a group [Al Wefaq] that belongs specifically to Shaikh Eisa Qassim. The differences are political in their nature and have nothing to do with sects or religion," Al Saeedi said. "My remarks referred to those among us who behaved irresponsibly and engaged in acts of sabotage and violence."

Al Saeedi, whose fate as MP and even as a free person will be decided by a plenary session of the parliament before March 26, said he would not seek deals with any bloc or the other seven independent MPs in the 40-member house.